Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216
Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216 is in Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931.
Note.—The following account is based on a fuller description published in Archaeologia, Vol. LXXX, pp. 179—214, where will be found additional details of the work done and many references to other publications which have been omitted from the following pages for the sake of brevity. Some additional paragraphs have. however, been included here in the section headed "Observations."
THE monument is a large circular single-chambered cairn, originally about 160 ft. in diameter, and probably over 15 ft. high. The site is at the end of a low ridge, a mile distant from the Menai Straits and 100 ft. above sea-level. Closely adjoining the cairn is the base of a second. (See p. 259 and Fig. 21). Bryn Celli Ddu was formerly called Llwyn Llwyd, and the monuments were first described and illustrated early in the eighteenth century by the Rev Henry Rowlands of Plas Gwyn, the author of Mona Antiquita, who recorded that one cairn was "somewhat broke and pitted into on one side, where the Stones had been carry'd away," and that its fellow had been almost destroyed to make walls and hedges, and that there were "two standing columns erected between them."
Half a century later Henry Penruddocke Wyndham visited Anglesey, and in the published account of his travels the following sentences occur .
in the beginning of November 1777 was accidentally discovered at the hamlet of Brynkelly, a subterraneous gallery, eighteen feet in length, three in breadth, and six in height. This led to a chamber of the same height, which was covered with a large single stone. twelve feet long and nine wide. A small round pillar seemed to afford some support to this stone from the centre of the room. Many human bones were found dispersed over the floor, but they immediately mouldered into dust upon being touched.
A number of other references to the monuments have been summarized by Mr. Neil Baynes in his valuable paper on "The Megalithic Remains of Anglesey," published in the Transactions of the Hon. Soc. of Cymmrodorion for 1910—11. The various accounts there quoted do not always agree, but it is stated that in the chamber along the sides of the room a stone bench "on which were found human bones which crumbled at the touch."
In 1923 the Marquess of Anglesey, the owner, transferred the custody of the major monument to H.M. Office of Works, after an examination had proved that the remaining cover-stone was in imminent danger of collapse.
The first steps towards preservation taken by H.M. Office of Works in September, 1925, were the removal of the modern wall which closely surrounded the stones and the felling of the trees within it which had been planted about 1847 and whose roots were a most serious obstacle to the continuation of the work; so long as they retained any life it was impossible to examine in detail any part of the soil they had penetrated, as their removal would almost inevitably disturb any stratification, and would be likely to displace or loosen the smaller stones used for walling.
Until 1925 the only visible remains of the structure were the base of the mound, together with the chamber (Fig. 1) and the inner 15 ft. of the passage. The passage, however, was filled with earth, and so overgrown and surrounded by trees as to be unrecognizable, while the chamber was in little better state.
The plan of the monument as eventually revealed (Figs. 2 and 20) shows that when complete it had consisted of a mound of stones and soil 160 ft. In diameter, covering a single polygonal chamber about 8 ft. in diameter, roofed by two cover-stones, and approached by a passage 26 ft. long, of which the inner 20 ft. were roofed by four stones. The chamber was placed within, but not at the centre of a roughly circular area, which was surrounded by four concentric circles of stones. Three of these circles were completely hidden under the cairn, two of them being buried in a ditch, the third stood free of the ditch in the inner area, while the fourth ringed the base of the cairn.
(It should be stated that throughout the description of the monument it has been assumed for the sake of simplicity that the axis is E. and NW. instead of approximately ENE. and WSW.)
The chamber and the passage approaching it may be divided into four parts, which it will be convenient to consider separately: (i) the Chamber itself (contained by stones 2 to 7), (ii) the Inner Passage (stones 8 to 17), (iii) the Portal (stones 18 to 21), and (iv) the Outer Passage (stones 22 to 26).
Sections i, ii, and iii were roofed by large slabs of stone, or boulders having one flat side, all of which remain in a more or less perfect condition, except for the single cover of the portal which has disappeared. Section iv was never covered by stones.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Chamber
Examination proved that most, if not all, of the material forming the floor of the chamber had been previously disturbed, and no trace was found of a "pavement of flat slabs,' mentioned in a letter from Capt. Lukis, quoted in Archaeologia Cambrensis in 1869; it is likely that the slabs were the packing blocks placed to keep the pillar in position. The present floor-level just covers these.
The following is a list of objects found within the chamber.
A. In November, 1777. Many human bones, uncremated.
B. In 1865, by Capt. Lukis. Small fragments of burnt and unburnt human bones, "a broken flint knife", "a javelin head," limpet shells, charcoal, a small piece of lead (modern), and fragments of modern pottery.
C. In 1925—9. Fragments of burnt and unburnt human bones and teeth, cockle, mussel and limpet shells, and two fragments of chert which fit together to make a rough end scraper.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Pillar Stone
The first part of the structure to be examined was the pillar within the chamber (Fig. 3), which was semi-prostrate and resting against stone No. 6. It undoubtedly still occupied the position it had assumed when it was "overturned" at the violation of the monument in the eighteenth century, in spite of a definite statement that it was prostrate in 1847, supported by a drawing made in by the Rev. John Skinner, which shows it lying east and west beside the hole in which it once had stood. The packing blocks placed with extreme care around its base were still in position, with the exception of one or more which had been withdrawn from the south-east side, and so allowed it to incline in that direction. The stone was set upright again, and the blocks had preserved the shape of the socket so accurately that the position it now occupies is precisely that in which it was first placed. The pillar is 8 ft. 3 in. long, and now projects 5 ft. 6 in. above the floor level. Except where it has suffered damage the whole of its surface is smoothed and rounded, and it is slightly flattened on the north-east and north-west sides opposite to stones 7 and 5. The upper 1 ft. 9 in. of the south-west side has been split off and lost, thus depriving the pillar of its symmetry. It is tapered at both ends, the maximum circumference being 4 ft. 7 in. at 4 ft. 3 in. below the top of the stone.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Worked Stones
Upright No. 7, flanking the entrance on the north, has been considerably "dressed" to fit its position. The south-eastern edge and south-western face have been smoothed by hammering or picking, and a shoulder has been carefully wrought to take the edge of the last cover-stone of the passage, C. The north-western edge also has been dressed, but in a quite different manner; the upper part of the stone being too wide it was reduced in size, a straight edge being obtained by striking a few large flakes off either face by a heavy maul the same method that a mason would employ to-day. The newly-added walling of the chamber has been kept back so that this edge of the stone can be examined.
Stone 5 has also been dressed.
One noticeable feature about Bryn Celli Ddu had always been that some of the original mound still remained upon the main cover-stone. This material was removed and replaced again to ascertain whether there were any cups or other markings on the upper surface of the stone. None was found, and the upper and under surfaces of the smaller cap were equally bare, but the adjacent edges of both stones had been skilfully dressed so as to fit closely one against the other (Fig. 4). Originally the fit must have been very close, but portions of the edge of the larger stone have split off. The smaller cover-stone was lying beside the chamber. It was decided to replace it, and provide a secure bearing for the main cover-stone by inserting two beams of reinforced concrete supported by uprights outside the chamber.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Spiral
One of the uprights, No. 4, bears an incised spiral on its inner face (Fig. 5). The pattern is about 5 in. in diameter, and is comprised of about two and one-third complete rounds , the inner end dies awav into the central turn, but the outer end is free.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Inner Passage
The passage was completely blocked with soil and stones, and each of the three roofing stones C, D, and E was out of position owing to the withdrawal or decay of the bearers on which their ends originally rested. Clearance was necessarily made from the chamber eastwards towards the entrance, and it soon became evident that the filling, which in some places reached the cap-stones, belonged to two periods. A typical section taken between stones 10 and 11 gave (1) an upper layer averaging 1 ft. 6 in. deep consisting of loam containing a few stones and many tree roots, lying on (2), 4 in. of stones which in turn covered (3), 7 in. of hard soil, resting upon the lowest layer, (4), consisting of 6 in. of small stones covering the old floor of the passage. The dividing line between the earlier and later periods of this filling was clearly marked by a well-trodden surface between layers (2) and (3), on which were found fragments of clay- tobacco-pipe and a metal button, both probably of late eighteenth- century date. There can be but little doubt that the surface on which these lay was the pathway trodden down by the first visitors to the tomb in 1777, the lower portion of the filling below it being composed of the material which fell into the passage when the cover- stones were first displaced, while the upper part must have been deliberately placed there in recent times.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Clay Built Wall
When the northern side of the western section of the passage was cleared, there came to light a low wall of flat stones which had been set in clay (Fig. 6). This remained intact up to the level of the pathway." The wall dies away against stone 9, just short of the entrance of the chamber, and begins at the foot of 17, one of the four uprights which mark the entrance to the inner passage. At this end it stands at its greatest and possibly its original height.
Several uprights of the main wall of the passage against which it rests have been tooled, and this dressing is carried down behind the wall.
The discovery of this wall strengthened the case for the previous existence of the " stone bench " along the sides of the chamber described by Pennant; moreover, such a bench, about a foot wide and the same height, exists round two sides of one of the end chambers in the round cairn of Unstan [Map] in the Island of Orkney, in which were found round-bottomed vessels bearing chevron ornaments, and in the chambered cairn of Taversoé Tuick [Map] in Rousay, while the use of clay combined with walling in cairns has been recorded from Caithness and Yorkshire.
The only objects of ancient origin discovered during the clearance of the passage were many fragments of human cremated bones deliberately scattered on the floor, together with human teeth and a few fragments of unburnt human bones.
The floor-level of the passage on which the base of the clay-built wall rested was of the local glacial gravel and appeared to have been roughly paved with small flat stones 2 3 in. thick and averaging 6 in. across, but the bulk of the stones covering it fell from the roof when the covering slabs were displaced. The fragments of burnt and unburnt human bones were lying on and among the small paving stones.
The general method of building the passage was to place uprights side by side and to fill in any interval between them with dry walling, to dress the tops of the uprights and rest upon them either more dry walling or else large single stones bridging the intervals; upon these rested the roofing stones. These cross bearers extended back some distance into the mound, and it was their withdrawal in the course of the destruction of the cairn which first displaced the roofing stones. Most of the uprights selected had flat sides to form the walls of the passage, projections having been tooled away, but a departure from this practice was made at one point on the south side. Here two stones (Nos. 12 and 14) are so placed as to have narrow faces towards the passage, leaving two recesses on either side of No. 14 In each recess was placed on end a smaller stone partly embedded in the floor of the passage and projecting a few inches beyond the general line. Opposite to these there is a slight recess in the clay-built wall.
These two pointed stones each standing in its niche were probably baetyls such as have been found in other tombs of this nature, e.g. at Carrowkeel in Ireland, and La Hougue Bie in Jersey.
Three cover-stones at present form the roof of the inner passage; all of them are boulders of irregular shape but were selected for their flat under surfaces, which provide the passage with a surprisingly level roof. The sides of all three have been dressed to fit against one another, and in the case of C, that nearest the chamber, to fit its position against the uprights of the chamber itself, one of which (No. 7), as already mentioned, has a carefully worked hollow to receive it. The cover is now slightly out of its original position, as the southern end was found to have been split off, leaving the stone with a very insufficient bearing. It was therefore moved some inches farther to the south.
The outer edge of stone E is dressed to fit the missing cover of the portal. The position of this surface makes it particularly suitable for close examination. The top of upright 17 has been hollowed to fit the curve of this cover-stone, but it is likely that the weight was entirely carried by the side walls.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Portal
The part of the passage to which this name has been given is an area between the inner passage and the outer passage bounded by stones 15 to 21, and having marked peculiarities (Fig. 7). It is certain that it was originally roofed by a cover-stone, the "square stone covering the mouth of the passage" which, according to Skinner, a farmer came upon whilst removing some of the stones from the north-east side of the cairn. As just recorded, the eastern edge of the last cover-stone now remaining is dressed to lit its lost neighbour, which was set at a slightly higher level. Stone 21 is badly mutilated, its upper part having been smashed away. It is clear from Skinner's description that the inner passage could be traversed, but the recent excavation of the outer passage proved that this, on the other hand, was carefully and elaborately blocked. The greater portion of this blocking still in situ in 1927 and came to an end between stones 20 and 21. At La Hougue Bie [Map]the blocking similarly stopped at a point otherwise marked by the raising of the roof.
The westward termination of the portal is marked by two small cross walls reaching even now almost up to the cover-stone and built at right angles to the axis of the passage; they connect stone 15 with 17 and 16 with 18. Stone 18 was similarly linked with stone 20, but 19 and 21 are so close together that probably no walling needed—in any case the small interval was found to be filled by a solid mass of roots. Stones 15 and 19 are joined by a remarkably perfect section of walling.
It was impossible to be certain as to the original height of the comparatively rough walling forming the sides of the passage between stones 16 and 20 and 17 and 21 only the bottom course in each case was found undisturbed, and each section has now been rebuilt to the same height as the walls of the outer passage, i.e. about 2 ft. 6 in.
This is probably the original arrangement, for the tilling as replaced just covers the base of the walling between stones 15 and 17 and 15 and 19, also that joining 16 and 20 and 18 and 20.
These recesses on either side of the passage, just outside the entrance to the inner section of the monument, are probably an important link in what may be termed the ritual history of the monument. Taken together they seem to represent the ante-chamber which is so constant a feature in the burial caves of the Mediterranean and also of those of the Petit Morin in Northern France, which are closely linked with the dolmens of the Paris region; some of the Petit Morin ante- chambers contain a ledge and so emphasize the resemblance. In Britain the round and long chambered cairns at Camster and elsewhere in Caithness have well-marked ante-chambers between the passages and the main chambers.
At Camster the ante-chamber is further marked by having its roof at a higher level than that of the passage, and this feature must similarly have distinguished the Bryn Celli I)du ante-chamber, as is proved by the height of stones 18 and 20 on which the cover-stone of the portal must have rested.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Outer Passage
This remains almost intact (Fig. 7). It was found to be completely filled by the original blocking of stones and earth placed there when the tomb was sealed before the completion of the cairn. The relative age of the blocking was proved by the fact that the stones were carefully packed in clay, and that scattered among them were occasional cremated bones, down to a level about 3 in. above the floor. This was of gravel with no paving stones, and bare of cremated bones, except that a deposit of about a dozen fragments was placed in a small hollow about an inch deep in the centre of the passage opposite stone 22. Just beyond, opposite stone 24, were two exceptionally large stones, one 16 in. by 13 in. by 13 in., and another resting on it 18 in. by 18 in. by 9 in. Close by, opposite stone 22, the passage was crossed by a barrier of water-worn and deliberately broken pebbles of white quartz such as were found all over the site.
The walls of the outer passage are only 2 ft. high, and consist of uprights connected by dry walling carefully built of selected stones, flat rectangular slabs of limestone, probably brought from the nearest outcrop in Plas Newydd Park. Some of the uprights have been dressed.
It will be noticed from the plan that the stones terminating the passage, numbers 25 and 26, are unsymmetrically placed; a possible explanation of this will be given later (p. 234); both these stones have been mutilated by having their tops smashed away (Figs. 7 and 14). No doubt this was due to the efforts of the farmer to clear the field for cultivation, probably in 1858. The adjoining stones of circle 2 are similarly mutilated, and it seems likely that the circle was higher here than elsewhere, to conform with the corresponding rise in the level of the stones of circle 3 and to mark the importance of the forecourt.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Forecourt
By far the most difficult area to excavate was that in front of the entrance to the passage. The heaped up material of the mound consisted of stones of all sizes, gravels, coarse and fine, clean and dirty, as well as clays of different colours sometimes clean, at others mixed with gravel.
The blocking closing this outer entrance to the tomb was continuous with the blocking of the outer passage, and was composed of large stones interspersed with gravel and clay. It was found to spread out fanwise beyond the entrance to the outer passage for 7 or 8 ft. on the axis, and to extend about 6 ft. on either side, rather like the cork of a champagne bottle, or perhaps a better simile would be a section of an onion, as it was obvious that the material close to the entrance had been placed in successive perpendicular layers, the larger stones in many cases being placed on end (Fig. 8). As the blocking spread outwards it became indistinguishable from the general mass of stones, gravels, and clays, the remains of the cairn which still covered the outer areas of the mound.
At the outer edge of the blocking were occasional cremated bones, quartz stones, some of them the usual broken pebbles, and many fragments of charcoal——one patch of charcoal was particularly noticeable, about 1 ft. 6 in. in diameter, 8 ft. from stone 27 on a line parallel to the main axis. It lay about 1 ft. above the level of the floor, and probably marked the site of a fire.
A large patch of quartz was found in a single layer laid upon the courtyard level under the "cork" opposite stone 27, and spread as a non-continuous fringe under the outer edge of it. In removing the last section of the "cork" outside the entrance. signs of a fire charcoal in a hollow in the body of the blocking were found a little south of the centre, possibly continuous with a larger "hearth " to the east, while yet another such has already been mentioned. In any case ceremonial fires had been made at several points during the process of blocking the entry, and there were two more definite " hearths " flanking the entrance—areas roughly paved with flat stones set in clay, and bearing evident signs of fire, adjoining stones 25 and 26, and partly covered by the spread of the "cork."
Immediately in front of the entrance was a small mound of stones set in clay about 9 in. high, 3 ft. 6 in. long, and 2 ft. wide, over which the pathway passed (Fig. 8), and inserted in and against the southern side of it was a considerable deposit of completely burnt bones which probably represented less than half the cremation of an adult male. It had been placed in a " basin " of clay 1 ft. deep, measuring about 3 ft. east and west and 1 ft. 6 in. north and south. The bones were intermixed with small stones before being placed in the " basin," which seemed first to have been lined with stones. It appeared that the " basin " had been hollowed out of the mound after it had been trodden upon; perhaps this fire represented one of the last rites before the final covering in of the monument. When the blocking had been completely removed from the outer passage and the forecourt, it was seen that the passage dipped downwards from the portal until it reached its lowest between stones 25 and 26, from which point the court-yard sloped upwards again. This device, which must have been deliberate, had the result of increasing the apparent height and importance of the portal. It also marks the spot where the passage crosses the centre line of the ditch.
The impression received while clearing the forecourt was that at several stages during the heaping up of the materials used to cover it in, areas of varying size had been trodden hard. These areas shaded into one another, and it was impossible to follow them out completely or to distinguish them. Two of the floors so formed are indicated on section 3. (Fig. 18.)
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Post Holes
Five post-holes were discovered, each about 6 in. in diameter, and averaging 1 ft. in depth (Fig. 9). Two of them contained remains of carbonized pine wood; probably its condition was due to age rather than burning, and the bark was traceable. (See p. 250.) The small size of the holes suggests that they may have carried the uprights of a screen of wattle.
Both the location and the clearing of these holes were a matter of much difficulty, and their discovery is due to the skill and patience of Mr. William Griffiths, the foreman. They were sunk into dirty gravel, and tilled with the same material, which presented precisely the same appearance whether it had been deposited in any particular position by nature or by man. In such soil it is only feel that it is possible to detect the slight hardening which distinguishes stratification or the side of a hole. The detection of replacement is made still more difficult by the fact that nature, when laying down glacial gravels, counterfeits human action (and consequently lays traps for the excavator) by making discontinuous lines of stratification precisely similar to those produced by early man when casting his basket-loads of soil and gravel. The five post-holes were fairly accurately disposed on the arc of a circle, the most southerly one being on the main axis of the monument, and it was consequently expected that the series would be continued southwards, but preliminary trials in 1928 failed to locate any extension of the system in either direction. Before the 1929 season 's work the whole of this area in front of the entrance was roofed over in order that the soil might dry out, as the difficulties of excavation were very much increased when it was wet.
In 1929 Mr. R. S. Newall took charge of the work, a particularly thankless task, as in addition to the natural difficulties of the Site much of the area had already been disturbed by the inconclusive work during the previous season.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Ox
Beyond the post-holes was found a shallow pit, slightly sunk into a clay floor, and in the pit was the skeleton of an ox, apparently complete except for the horns and portions of the skull immediately adjacent to them, which had probably been destroyed by cultivation. The body had been doubled up and crammed into as small a hole as possible, the head twisted round towards the entrance to the tomb.
Dr. J. Wilfrid Jackson and Mr. C. Bryner Jones, C.B.E., have kindly examined the bones. Neither has been able to come to definite conclusions as to date. The bones are not recent, but it is conceivable that, as the site is near a farm, the animal may have been buried within the last few centuries. Against this hypothesis must be set the symmetrical position of the body on the axis of the forecourt, and the fact that it lay in a hollow on the clay floor, a double coincidence if the burial is modern, and also the resemblance to an animal of early bronze-age date from Woodhenge [Map], noted by Dr. Jackson.
When the area was cleared a line of stones was found set on edge, in such a manner as to distinguish it from the more casually placed filling of stones and soil which covered the area south of it. Stones similarly placed in a parallel line on the opposite side of the forecourt had been removed previously, when search was being made for the expected southward continuation of the line of post-holes, and it became evident that the forecourt had been laid out on an entirely different axis from the rest of the monument, i.e. one passing through stone 26 and through the central post-hole (see plan, figs. 1 and 20). Possibly the unsymmetrical arrangement of stones 25, 26 27, and 28 may be related to this change of axis.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Central Stone and Pit
The complete reconstitution of the passage and chamber would have meant that the latter would be in darkness; it was therefore decided to leave the existing opening between stones 2 and 3 untilled by walling in order that it might serve as a window; also to lower slightly the level of a small area outside, so that the pillar could be more easily viewed, at the same time building modern wing walls on either side of this area to retain the mound (Fig. 16). (The writer hopes that some day it may be possible to provide artificial lighting and to fill in the missing section.) When the ground was lowered a large slab of schist was exposed; it was laid horizontally, but dipping downward from south to north. It measured about 3 ft. 6 in. by 2 ft. 6 in., and was found to have been placed as nearly as possible in the centre of the monument (Fig. 10).
In due course the stone was lifted. It showed no sign of dressing but before it was replaced an interesting sequence of events was revealed. A pit had first been sunk in the natural gravel; the bottom of the pit had been scorched and hardened by fire, and on it were a few fragments of charcoal, one piece of unburnt wood with some of the bark adhering, much decayed, but still identifiable as hazel, and one burnt bone, a human right ear-bone. The pit had been filled with a mixture of clay and stones, resting on a layer of brown clay, laid on the bottom, and containing two large pieces of jasper.
Into this filling was inserted a lump of purple clay roughly in the form of an inverted cone, on the top of which was worked a shallow hollow about 6 in. in diameter, which was immediately covered by the central stone. The hollow was free of any filling, and nothing was found to indicate the purpose for which it had been made (sections 2, 5, and 6).
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Pattern Stone
North of the central stone, just overlapping its lower side, and therefore at a slightly higher level, was another and larger stone of grit, 5 ft. long, 2 ft. wide, and 1 ft. thick. When this was cleared the eastern end of the upper surface was found to be covered with an incised pattern (Fig. 11). It was lying flat, and in due course the patterning was found to cover part of the under side as well, and to extend over the eastern end (Fig. 12).
North and west of the stone there was a floor of purple clay, averaging 2 in. to 3 in. in thickness, and laid level with its upper face (Fig. 13). The disposition of this clay layer proved conclusively that the pattern stone had been deliberately placed by the builders of the monument exactly as it was found in 1928, and that its recumbent position could not possibly be due to accident or the activities of the destroyers. The stone is now housed in the National Museum of Wales, a cement cast taking its place at Bryn Celli Ddu, but so set that the whole of the pattern can be examined. The stone being of coarse grit, must have deteriorated if left exposed to the weather. The disposition of the pattern inevitably suggests that the stone was intended to be set upright in the ground, possibly at some stage in the funeral ceremonies, in such a way as to display the markings. As it is of local material, the same grit as the larger cover-stone of the chamber, there seems to be no reason for thinking that it may have formed part of some other monument.
The patterns are best explained by the illustrations, especially the careful drawing made by Mr. W. F. Grimes, Assistant in the Department of Archaeology in the National Museum of Wales (Fig. 12), which demonstrates that all the markings form part of a single design formed by incised lines, which average 2 to 3 mm. deep and 7 to 8 mm. wide, and are probably the result of percussion with a pointed tool.
The meaning of the pattern is unknown, but some form of "magic" is perhaps the most obvious explanation. The style is familiar from several megalithic sites in Brittany and Ireland, where the spirals, curves, and zigzags are recurrent features.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Circles
When the outer passage was being cleared it was found that the area immediately behind the uprights on either side was tightly packed with stones set in clay forming an approximately regular platform," level with the top of the walls (Fig. 14), and a small low dry-built wall was found standing on this "platform" beginning at stone 18 and turning away in a south-easterly direction (Fig. 9). Only two or three courses of walling remained, and the lowest of these was on a level with the top of the passage wall.
This discovery, supported by that of the remains of a corresponding wall on the other side, at once suggested that the plan was likely to be much more elaborate than had hitherto been suspected. It had already been established that the outer passage ended at a break in a wall of upright stones, which presumably surrounded the monument and was slightly set in at the entry of the passage. In fact, that the monument, although megalithic, was more or less of the normal round barrow type. The newly found curving walls, however, seemed to be reminiscent of the horns of a long barrow and suggested an amalgamation of the two types.
In 1929, therefore, the greater part of the season's work was directed to the study of the arrangement and purpose of these encircling walls.
Earlier observers had noticed certain upright stones projecting above ground-level, and a preliminary examination was made in 1926 of the four that were then visible, viz. No. 34 and f, j, and n.
No. 34 was over 7 ft. long, was planted upright and flanked on either side by dry walling connecting it with two other upright stones. The section of the wall thus revealed was followed in both directions, the result being that a complete circle (No. 2) composed of upright stones linked by walling was added to the plan of the monument. In places where the tops of the stones were at a greater depth below the surface, they were crowned by continuous rough walling.
The examination of the circle was resumed in 1929, when three sections were cut (Fig. 18), and proved that a circular or slightly oval ditch had been excavated, having as its approximate centre the pit covered by the central stone. The average width and depth of this ditch were 17 ft. and 6 ft. respectively. In it were set two lines of uprights, the average length of the outer stones (circle 2) being 7 or 8 ft.; the inner (circle 3) about half that size. In none of the sections did the bases of the stones of either circle reach the bottom of the ditch, but they were wedged in position with extreme care by means of large stones packed in clay. In sections 1 and 2 the gravel in the bottom of the ditch was stained black, suggesting that fires had been lighted there, but nowhere was there any trace of silting such as would be expected had the ditch been left open for any length of time. Moreover, as it had been cut in the gravel, a very few days' exposure to the weather would have caused the collapse of the sides. The surface of the inner slope, however, had been "rendered" by a continuation of the layer of purple clay which apparently covered almost the whole of the interior area not occupied by the chamber and passage; this rendering had been scorched by fire in places.
Except at the entrance the puddled clay and stones completely enveloped the inner ring of uprights (Fig. 15) and on the inner side almost reached the level of the top of the stones forming the outer one. The uprights of the outer ring were connected by rough walling to a depth of from 2 to 3 ft. down from their tops; the inner ring had no walling, except at the entrance, where the last 4 ft. 6 in. cn the S. side and 6 ft. 6 in. on the N. side were. formed by the small dry-built incurving walls already mentioned.
Although the evidence from only three sections cannot be conclusive, it suggests that the smaller circle was considerably reduced in height in its course from the front to the rear of the monument.
The certain deduction seems to be that both circles had a purely ritual significance, and that there was no intention to leave them exposed for any length of time, save possibly at the entrance. It is in fact certain that the inner of the two was never exposed, but that the stones were placed in position in the course of setting the filling in the ditch behind the outer circle. The stones of this circle (2) must also have been set up at the same time and in much the same manner, as they do not reach the bottom of the ditch; in this case, however, there is a probability that about 2 ft. 6 in. of the outer faces may have been left exposed for a very short time after the ditch itself had been completely filled. Two facts point to this; the change in the character of the filling (as indicated in the sections), and the use of dry walling to connect the upper parts only of the uprights. Although careful search was made no evidence was found to suggest that there was anything like a pathway round the circle at any level.
It is quite inconceivable that the ditch should have represented an earlier monument adapted for the purpose of a tomb, unless it had been entirely re-cut.
Both circles rose gradually up out of the ditch as they approached the passage (this fact must have been much more apparent originally, as the tops of the stones of the outer circle flanking the entrance have been completely smashed away by the modern destroyers, Fig. 14), and circle 3 was found to be continuous with the small incurving walls flanking the portal.
Further study of the design brought to light a very surprising fact. To a spectator standing without the outer passage the monument appears to have a perfectly symmetrical arrangement of four con- verging walls, all terminated at the portal by upright stones (Nos. 18, 19, 20, and 21) (Fig. 7). Analysis of the plan, however, reveals a very different position (Figs. 2 and 20).
Of the four stones 18 alone has one side disengaged; it terminates the inner circle on the south side, and if this circle be followed clockwise round the circumference No. 19 is reached, balancing No. 18, but unlike it linked with a neighbouring upright, No. 15, which in its turn forms part of the main wall of the inner passage. This end of the inner circle therefore is continuous with the north wall of the passage. This wall runs on without a break, curving round to form the chamber and returning as the south wall of the passage, to complete the circuit of the monument at stone 16. This stone, however, is linked with 20, and so the outer circle; the line of walling therefore runs without a break twice round the monument. It does not even terminate with stone 17, but is continued by the clay-set wall to a point on the face of stone 9 just short of the chamber itself. In fact, the two "circles" may be considered as together forming a gigantic spiral, in which is a loop comprising the passage and chamber.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Inmost Circle
When stone No. 34 had been proved to form part of circle 2, attention was directed to three others which were subsequently identified by the letters n, j, and f (Fig. 20).
n was found to be 8 ft. long and to be set on end, leaning away from the central point of the monument at an angle of 45 degrees, carefully packed by stones set in clay in such a manner that it could not conceivably have slipped from an upright position or have been displaced by the destroyers. The base of the stone and its packing were placed in a pit, there was no opportunity of completely examining this pit, and no similar one was observed elsewhere. The surface of the mound as eventually completed would have been 6 ft. or more above the highest point of the stone. Three inches from its outer face and 4 ft. 3 in. lower than the summit of the stone was a deposit of burnt bones representing the complete cremation of a young person, probably a girl of between eight and ten years of age.
Stone j is an upright of hard schist, now only 3 ft. long, its upper part having been destroyed. It was set erect in a level area of purple clay 3 in. thick. In this floor, 3 ft. from the south-east corner of the stone, was a hollow about 2 ft. in diameter and 1 ft. deep, in which was set a small upright stone about 15 in. long, and cremated bones representing the nearly complete remains of a young person just cutting the last wisdom teeth, perhaps a girl of about 15; above lay a number of quartz stones. The basin appeared to have been lined with small flat stones, and was probably the site of a fire. It is likely that the stone was phallic. (Mr. T. Lethbridge has recently discovered a similar stone about a foot long set in a small pit in a hut circle on Gateholm Island. Arch. Camb., 1930, p. 370.)
Another "basin" was found up against the south-west corner of the stone. This also appeared to have been burnt and was empty save for a few fragments of charcoal; here, again, were found white quartz pebbles, broken as usual, together with fragments of the upright, j.
Stone f was much larger and more irregular than n or j; like the former it was set at an angle of 45 degrees, leaning away from the centre of the monument. It was 7 ft. long. No cremated bones were found, but under its heel resting on natural soil were about three layers of quartz and other rounded pebbles.
In 1929 a more detailed examination of the inner area was undertaken to discover the purpose and relationship of the three stones just described, and also the extent and nature of the great ditch in which the circles 2 and 3 were set.
Mr. D. W. Phillips assisted in this work for some weeks and was responsible for the cutting of the two main trenches, assisted by Mr. R. S. Simms, who gave his services throughout the season's work. One trench was sited so as to include stone j, the other ran along the main axis of the monument, and here was discovered the site of another stone, h, belonging to what was now ascertained to be the inmost circle (No. 4).
In this case the destroyers had completed their work and only the fragments of a schist stone remained in the socket, which was inclined outwards at an angle of about 45 degrees (Section 2); the fragments were scattered for some distance westward, suggesting that the stone had been shattered when the level of the soil was slightly lower than at present.
Trenches were cut down to the level of the clay floor at a number of places, and in most of the comparatively small areas exposed patches of the clay floor were found to have been scorched, while stones were found laid upon it in groups, but no regular arrangement could be detected, and it was assumed that they formed the lowest course of the super-incumbent cairn.
In some cases the stones of circle 4 or their sites were located without difficulty: either stumps were found in position or the holes in which they had stood passed through the clay floor, which was found at the same level over the whole of the western part of the area. The relative positions of the stones, however, were not constant either in their distances from one another or from the centre of the mound.
Mr. Newall, who was assisting in the work at this stage, made the discovery that, if lines were drawn on the plan connecting certain of the stones already exposed on opposite sides of the monument, these lines crossed the central stone at precisely the same point (Fig. 2). By following this clue it was a comparatively easy task to recover the plan of the "circle," which was found to have consisted of fourteen members, i.e. twelve monoliths, one stone which had always been prostrate and one group of smaller stones, while there was no trace of the fifteenth stone (l) which would have balanced c, and so com- pleted the sequence. Considered as a circle the stones were quite irregularly spaced both in relation to their neighbouring monoliths and their distance from the centre; but they were placed with great accuracy if regarded as pairs connected by imaginary lines crossing the pit under the central stone. (See p. 218.)
Stones f, j, h, and n have already been described.
The remaining members were:
a. The stump of an upright of schist.
b. A small pile of about a dozen stones.
c. The broken fragments of a grit stone inclined outwards.
d. A thin, badly smashed slab of schist, about 4 ft. 6 in. wide, inclined outwards.
e. A hole containing fragments of schist inclined outwards.
f. A hole only, I ft. deep, and two packing blocks; no evidence of inclination.
g. A hole only, 1 ft. 10 in. long by 1 ft. wide and I ft. 3 in. deep, in which was found one fragment of burnt human tibia; no evidence of inclination.
k. The stump of a stone 2 ft. 5 in. long and scarcely piercing the clay, but propped so as to incline outwards; at its foot, one cremated bone was found, a human cochlea.
(l). Neither stone nor hole was found.
m. A hole only.
o. A large irregular slab 4 ft. 9 in. long and 2 ft. 9 in. wide, which had always been prostrate; no hole was found under or near it.
It is also noteworthy that stones g, h, and i have no opposites, h being on the main axis which crossed the central stone, while in the case of g and i connecting lines crossing the central point would be intercepted by uprights Nos. 3 and 2 of the chamber. Very careful search was made for any evidence of the two missing opposite stones, but no trace was found. As a matter of fact the line joining/ with o is just cut by the edge of upright No. 3, and that joining to a is similarly cut by upright No. 2.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Clay Floor
Purple clay resembling that of which the floor was made may still be found on the limestone.
The partial examination of the inner area by means of the various trenches suggested that the floor extended over the whole of the part lying to the west of a line drawn at right angles to the axis at the portal, with the possible exception of the immediate neighbourhood of the chamber itself. Eastwards of this line the evidence was not so clear, and any systematic exploration was impossible owing to the amount of material already heaped in position around and above the passage and chamber. The presence of clay floors, or "strata," in tumuli, has been noted in a few other cases, e.g. by Canon Greenwell, in the Ebberston long barrow in the North Riding of Yorkshire (British Barrows, pp. 485—6), and in a round barrow in the parish of Rudstone in the East Riding (p. 246). It is likely that it has escaped notice in other excavations.
By the time the floor had been discovered it was too late to ascertain its relation to any other uprights of the chamber and passage than No. 3, but the available evidence clearly suggests that the chamber was completed before the floor was laid down, and it is quite certain that it was laid down after both upright No. 3 of the chamber and the pattern stone were in position.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Prostrate Stones
At one point in the SE. sector the clay was found to stop abruptly where it was just overlapped by the first of three large stones which were found lying side by side, radiating from the centre of the monument. The largest stone was just under 5 ft. long. Two were of grit, the third, nearest to the passage, of schist. No similar arrangement of stones was found elsewhere and an additional peculiarity was that each had been broken In two; the fact that in every case the two portions were still fitted together suggested that the breaking was deliberate. It is certain that their position had not altered since the construction of the cairn, i.e. that their condition and disposition were in no way due to the activities of the destroyers.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Peristalith Circle 1
The evidence for a peristalith rests on Rowlands's description and drawing, supported by a suggestion in Archaeologia Cambrensis in 1847 (p. 5). None of these can be considered conclusive, but the probability that there was a peristalith—which, on the analogy of New Grange [Map], etc., might well be expected in such a position—is much strengthened by the discovery of a large stone hole at the edge of the spread or the original mound. The discovery was a chance one made during the cutting of a shallow trench.
Attempts to locate other holes with a bar were fruitless, and there was no opportunity for any systematic excavation.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, The Sequence of the Construction of the Monument
The relative positions of the central stone, the pattem stone, and upright No. 3 are of great importance in any attempt to recover the sequence of events in the construction of the monument.
The sequence in the central area appears to have been as follows: (1) the sinking of the central pit; (2) the scorching of it; (3) the deposition of the hazel and the cremated bone; (4) the laying down of the brown clay layer; (5) the filling of the pit with stones and clay; (6) the insertion of the purple clav cone into the filling; (7) the use of the hollow in the purple clay; (8) the laying down of the central stone; (9) the erection of upright No. 3; (10) the placing in position of the pattern stone, followed by (11) the erection of the chamber; and (12) the laying of the clay floor. Then there would have been the ceremonial use of the floor—whatever that may have been—and finally the covering in by the completion of the cairn.
It is also possible to suggest a sequence for the erection of the uprights of the chamber, namely that 3 was first placed in position, and that it must have been set up from the eastern side, and therefore before the erection of any other stones of the chamber; while 4 and 7 were in position before 2, 5, and 6 were set up. It is also likely that 8 and 9 (and therefore the rest of the passage) were erected after 6 and 7 were in position.
With this local sequence as a basis, it is possible to suggest the following order for the erection of the tomb:—
1. The central pit and ceremonial connected with it.
2. The erection of the chamber and the Inner Passage and Portal which preceded—
3. The digging (or at any rate the completion) of the ditch, for practical reasons, as the difficulties of transport, etc., would have been much greater had the ditch existed when the great stones were assembled and erected, even if a causeway had been left for a time.
4. The erection of circle 4.
5. The laying and ceremonial use of the clay floor.
6. The setting of the circles 2 and 3 in the ditch and linking them with the Portal.
7. The burial and attendant ceremonies.
8. The closing of the tomb and attendant ceremonies.
9. The erection of the cairn.
10. The erection of the peristalith (which might, however, have been set up at any earlier stage).
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Preservation
It was necessary to cover in the chamber and inner passage once more, to hide the ends of the concrete beams and their supports, as well as to keep out the wet, as the pillar-stone standing immediately beneath the junction of the caps was flaking badly, while the rain entering the passage through the gaps between the cover-stones A, C, D, and E would tend to disintegrate the clay-set wall.
The cover-stones in the passage—all in a precarious state—were re-set, the exact levels being given at either end by "shoulders" worked in stones 7 and 17. The resetting meant the replacement of certain lost or badly decayed cross bearers and parts of the dry walling. Every new stone has been marked by a small pit drilled in its outer face. The soil which has now been heaped upon the chamber and passage in the form of a "tumulus" was mostly obtained from the ditch; the outer part of the filling having been removed so as to reveal the outer circle approximately to the lower limit of the dry walling linking the uprights. As suggested on p. 240 it is likely that the circle was deliberately left exposed in such a manner at some stage in the funeral ceremonies.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Bulk
The amount of material moved by the builders was considerable. Assuming that the cairn was 12 ft. high and 160 ft. in diameter, the cubical content would have been about 2,500 yards, and the weight say 4,000 tons. There are also the contents of the ditch to be added, say another 850 tons. These figures are the minimum, as the cairn was probably more than 12 ft. high; an extra 2 ft. would have added about 550 tons.
As is almost invariably the case in the western areas of Britain, there is no sign of pits from which the material is likely to have been obtained.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Origin of the Stones
Dr. Edward Greenly, F.G.S., of Bangor, kindly examined the greater number of the stones of the chamber, passage, etc., and reports that all are of local origin—grit stone, of which a quarry exists in the next field, hornblende schist, which outcrops a few yards from the site—or such as would normally be found in the glacial deposit which forms the soil on which the monument stands, such as mica schist and glaucophane schist.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Wood
Mr. H. A. Hyde, M.A., F.L.S., Keeper of the Department of Botany in the National Museum of Wales, has kindly prepared the following report:—
A large number of small fragments of carbonised wood, all stated to have been derived from previously undisturbed strata, were submitted, and in addition from post-hole No. 2 flakes of bark stated to have been taken from the sides of the hole.
The fragments of wood were either broken across or split clearly along the grain and the surfaces so obtained were examined microscopically by reflected light. The following identifications were made:—
1. Corylus Avellana Linnaeus (HAZEL).
(a) From large hole in front and to right of entrance: every specimen of the large number from this hole proved to belong to this species.
(b) From back of outer circle in trench.
(c) Nine other fragments not specially localised; the largest measuring 4 mm. along the rays; and many other small fragments. The extraordinary abundance of this species is at least suggestive. It is known that in early post-glacial times large areas in North Wales must have been covered with hazel woods, and even to-day pure hazel scrub is common on the coast of the Lleyn peninsula. It seems likely therefore that hazel scrub may have been more widespread c. 1500 B.C. than it is to-day, a suggestion which receives support from the large proportion of hazel found at Bryn Celli Ddu.
2. Crataegus oxyacantha Linnaeus sens. lat. (HAWTHORN).
(a) Under pattern stone: two pieces.
(b) Nine fragments not specially localised; the largest measured 6 mm. along the rays.
3. Pinus sylvestris Linnaeus (SCOTS PINE).
(a) From post-holes Nos. I and 2: many small fragments of wood, the largest over 25 mm. long and 4 mm. in radial diameter and the flakes of bark above-mentioned.
(b) From large hole in front of entrance.
(c) One piece S mm. across and some smaller fragments not specially localised.
The occurrence of pine wood at Bryn Celli Ddu is of exceptional interest. It has long been known that this tree was of widespread occurrence in England and Wales in Neolithic times, the evidence for this being derived from submerged forests and peat bogs (vide Reid, C.: Origin of the British Flora). Few specimens of pine, however, have been identified from well-dated sites in England1 and none previously from Wales.
4. Prunus spinosa Linnaeus (BLACKTHORN). A single fragment under pattern stone.
5. Quercus Robur Linnaeus sens. lat. (OAK).
(a) Root fragment from large hole in front of entrance.
(b) Five very small fragments not specially localised.
Note 1. Those known to the writer are referred to in the following publications:-
(1) Lyell, A. H. In J. P. Bushe-Fox: Excavations at Hengistbury Head, Hants. Report of Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries III (1915), p. 20.
(2) Lyell, A. H. Excavations at Wroxeter. Report of Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries IV (1916), p. 66.
(3) Woodhead, T. W. , in Woodhenge, by M. E. Cunnington, 1929.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Fire
The mark of fire was everywhere. Apart from the larger deposits of cremated bones and small fragments which were often found, charcoal was ubiquitous; while patches of scorching were found wherever the purple clay floor was exposed, both on the level central area and on the inner slope of the ditch. The bottom of the ditch also was blackened and the outer slope scorched. Two considerable paved " hearths " flanked the entrance, and there were traces of other fires in its blocking.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Stone Bead
The solitary object showing human workmanship found during the excavations—flints and quartz excepted—was a bead of stone 1⅛ in. in diameter (Fig. 17). It was found resting on the edge of the inner bank of the ditch 5 ft. 8 in. from the southern face of stone 20. Nothing was with or near it, and it was apparently casually lost by one of the builders. It shows a small amount of wear on the outer edge of the two sides due to the friction of its neighbours on a string. Dr. Greenly reports that it volcanic mudstone with minute white mica, and (I think) a little chlorite. Most of it seems to be kaolinized felspar and some minute quartz. The composition is quite usual in mudstones."
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Flint
Between fifteen and twenty flakes of flint or chert due to human action were found scattered over the area of the monument, mostly casual finds; none was of much importance or datable with any degree of accuracy. The best are drawn in Fig. 17. Flint does not occur locally except on some not very distant sea- shores. Artifacts are found in some numbers in a field which has long been cultivated on the neighbouring farm of Holo Gwyn.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Quartz
White quartz was found all over the site, usually water-worn pebbles which had been deliberately broken. In a few places definite deposits of them had been made, e.g. in the filling of the passage. They were not found, however, placed at the foot of any of the circles, as they were round the internal wall at Capel Garmon. The presence of such pebbles has been noted on a number of Bronze Age and other early sites.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Jasper
As recorded above, two noticeably large fragments of brilliant red jasper were found in the filling of the central pit; small pieces abound on the site, but none so large as these.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Shells
Fragments of cockle, scallop, and winkle shells were found on the original floor of the passage; limpets (by Capt. Lukis) in the chamber; and oyster shells, one of the latter in the soil covering cap-stone C, and another just outside the entrance 2 in. above the floor-level. Both were probably contemporary with the cairn.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Date
The complete absence of pottery adds to the difficulty of dating; but perhaps the middle of the second millennium B.C. may be suggested as the most probable period.
Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Cambrensis 1931 LXXXVI Page 216, Observations
It may be claimed that the results of the examination provide abundant evidence of an elaborate funeral ceremonial. At present it is very obscure, but further light may be obtained from the exploration of cognate monuments.
The question of the origin of this ritual is far too wide and too obscure in its details to be dealt with adequately in a paper like this. It may, however, be sought in the Mediterranean-Atlantic culture which produced many monuments on the seaboards of Brittany, the Channel Islands, Ireland and N. Scotland, and, to trace it nearer to its origin, in Portugal and Spain.
The recesses on either side of the entrance preserve the memory of the constantly recurring ritual ante-chamber to the rock-cut tombs characteristic of the Mediterranean area, which are found in France as far as the latitude of Paris.
The rock-cut tombs of this type are in the opinion of the writer the ancestors or collaterals of the megalithic cairns and barrows which were originally built up where soft rock capable of excavation was absent.
In a paper published in Archaeologia in 1927 a description was given of two contemporary rock-cut tombs which it was claimed illustrated the transitional form, although not themselves in the direct line of descent. In one case in Mallorca the fragments of rock excavated to form the "cave" were piled on the surface of the ground above it in the form of a long barrow with its "retaining" wall, and near Arles in Provence similar excavated material was disposed in the form of a round barrow, above a "cave" and covering a circular rock-cut trench of small section.
Most writers on the subject of these great tombs containing many bodies have assumed that they were for communal or family use. Although much of the available evidence elsewhere may be read as supporting this theory, in the case of three monuments which it has been the writer's fortune to examine closely, Capel Garmon, Belas Knap [Map], and Bryn Celli Ddu, the entrances were so carefully and elaborately closed, and hidden, that it seems certain that the builders did not contemplate their reopening, and indeed took every pre- caution in their power to obviate the possibility of disturbance. The same position is clearly indicated in some at least of the Mallorc.an tombs, in those near Arles, in certain of the Brittany cairns, and probably in La Hougue Bie in Jersey and the "grottes" in the Marne.
This is not the place to review all the evidence, but consider the care taken to close the entrance here at Bryn Celli Ddu with stones packed in clay and the cremations and white quartz elaborately disposed in the blocking. Here at any rate are a number of bodies, and certainly no re-use of the chamber after its closing. There may have been a holocaust; some bodies, perhaps of servants, cremated and the ashes afterwards disposed in different parts of the monument, while for others, perhaps those nearer by blood or position to the great one for whom the monument was made, the honour of sharing his tomb.
It is also likely that the bodies destined to be entombed were preserved until the flesh had disappeared (indeed they must have been so unless the tomb was prepared in the lifetime of the tenant). One fact in favour of this theory is the discovery of a few fragments of unburnt bone on the floor of the passage among many cremated bones. They could only have found their way there before the violation of the tomb in the eighteenth century. Although it is conceivable that burrowing animals might have carried them from the chamber, it is more likely that they fell from the skeletons when the latter were being carried in to their last resting place. The combination of two circles with the walls of the chamber to compose an unbroken line of walling in the form of a spiral seems to be unique.
The complete burial with extreme care of the two circles in a ditch, the bottom of which is apparently not reached by the longest stones also seems to be a hitherto unrecorded event, although the small slivers of stones discovered by Dr. Fox set upright in the ditch surrounding the Ysceifiog barrow may reflect the same tradition.
The "bench" in the chamber and the clay-built wall in the passage have their counterpart as to the chamber in the cairns at Unstan and Taversoé Tuick in Orkney, and possibly, but with much less certainty, in the rock-cut tombs of Mallorca.